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Dog owners warned about Adder bites as vet treats five in one month

Vet reports 5 adder attacks in just one month. Photo: PA Images

A vet is warning dog owners about an increase in Adder attacks on dogs in Dorset.

Dave Cumber who runs a practice in Weymouth has treated 5 dogs with adder bites in the last couple of weeks - an unusually high amount.

He normally sees 2 or 3 cases a year, so 5 in one month has encouraged the vet to reach out to pet owners.

Adders can grow up to 70cm in length. Credit: PA Images.

Adders can be told apart from grass snakes and slow worms by their distinctive, zig-zag markings and they can reach 70cm in length.

Four of the five cases Dave Cumber has seen were from the Fleet, Chickerell and the fifth was at Hardy’s Monument.

Snake bites can be fatal so dog owners need to act quickly if a dog has been bitten. Dave says look out for the following signs:

  • The dog will almost certainly cry out as bites are very painful.
  • There is usually severe swelling around the bite area.
  • Swelling means bites around the face or throat are very dangerous.
  • Owners may see two puncture wounds.
  • If the bite is severe the dog may collapse.
5
cases in April alone

If you think your dog has been bitten, try and keep the dog as calm and still as possible. It is better to bring transport to the dog rather than making them walk back. Go straight to your vet and do not interfere with the wound or tie any sort of tourniquet because there is a danger of tissue damage around the bite.

– Dave Cumber, Vet

Adders are the only poisonous snake in Britain and are normally active between February and October. They are quite common in Dorset, favouring open rough ground, heathland and the edge of woodland.